Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

University of Maryland Hosts Paul Findley

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

University of Maryland Hosts Paul Findley

Article excerpt

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND HOSTS PAUL FINDLEY

The Muslim Students' Association (MSA), Muslim Women of Maryland (MWM) and Organization of Arab Students (OAS) at the University of Maryland, College Park sponsored a series of events, starting Nov. 27, on "The Crisis in the Holy Land." Prior to the events, French television pictures of the killing of Mohammed Al-Durra stirred debate between MSA and Jewish Student Union (JSU) students in front of the Student Union. The MSA taped down and handed out flyers featuring pictures of the violence in Palestine and condemning Israel's part in the encounters. Several JSU students removed these flyers.

By the time the Holy Land series started, tempers were frayed. As the first program began, on the evening of Nov. 27, JSU president Harry Seidman came to the front of the room and began to read a prepared statement condemning the MSA's decision to invite professional speakers instead of holding student panel discussions on the conflict. The MSA had asked their fellow JSU students to join the series with speakers of their own, but the Jewish organization had not provided any panelists. MSA vice president Kareem Darwish asked Seidman to stop the interruption and called campus police. After Seidman and his supporters walked out, in a planned protest, Darwish introduced the first speaker, civil rights activist Imam Mahdi Bray. "I wanted a dialogue, not confrontation," Bray said, "I would have hoped our cousins would have stayed."

Bray talked about the "media blackout in America" and the senselessness of the conflict. Malcolm Cannon from the International Action Center, American Muslim activist Manal Omar, and Howard University chaplain Imam Johari Abdul-Malik also spoke. Each speaker condemned the American media for its biased coverage and the U.S. government for its financial support of Israel. Some of the Jewish protesters quietly returned to stand in the back of the room and listen. After the speeches, the speakers entertained questions from the audience. Several Jewish students stayed to refute the speeches and to discuss JSU/MSA relations with the speakers.

Former Illinois Republican Congressman Paul Findley, author of the best-selling book They Dare to Speak Out, was the guest speaker on Nov. …

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